In September 2016, RTC conducted several workshops with planners, councillors and professionals to better understand the ways in which the sonic environment can be better considered at early stages of urban design projects in Belfast. We were overwhelmed by the interest in our workshops from all areas of planning and urban design and the primary conclusion drawn was that designers and decision-makers alike are calling for sound to be recognised as a key factor in any successful urban setting.
Workshop attendees included:
- Ards and North Down Borough Council
- Belfast City Council -- Planning and Environment; City & Neighbourhood Services Department
- Belfast Harbour Commissioners
- Belfast Healthy Cities
- Belfast Tourism
- City Reparo Lobbying Group
- Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs
- Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership, Belfast Health Development Unit
- Hogarth Group, Landscape Architects
- Ciaran Mackel Architect
- Mid Ulster District Council
- Optimised Environments Consultants
- Peter Lloyd Associates Acousticians
Since these workshops, RTC have met with key decision-makers in planning and tourism in NI, some of whom asked us to pursue further research to inform their work. As a result, RTC prepared a briefing paper for Belfast City Council describing how acoustic considerations will directly affect the objectives set out in NI’s Local Development Plans.
Thanks to the Urban Sound workshops, our attention has been drawn to several planned urban projects in Northern Ireland that we hope to enhance through advising careful consideration of the sonic environment. For example, research into three scales of sound art installation in urban areas was supplied to Pier Morrow at Belfast Tourism. RTC has applied to present information to the Northern Ireland Assembly in Autumn 2017 as part of the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS). KESS is annually delivered by the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Research and Information Service (RaISe) and local university partners: Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Ulster University (Ulster) and The Open University (OU).